Tuesday, June 02, 2009

New Things & Special Places

Well, I've wrapped up quite a few projects lately and am working on more! I've been busy reading and gleaning new ideas from all sorts of places. I thought I'd share a bunch of links to some places you all might enjoy as well. The boys are napping and I've got my cup of Earl Grey right beside me. My mind is racing with all sorts of things, but I'm not sure where to start.

I'm making a renewed effort to better order my days. I've loved going with the flow lately, just taking each day as it comes and doing new things with the boys. This is good to some extent, but also leaves me feeling like I'm floundering a bit and not accomplishing as much as I'd like. I'm looking for a good balance as I seem to run to extremes. Anyone else?

I'm working on some new routines for myself and the boys. I find as the seasons change, my routines need to as well. I'm working on a list that I'll type up in a few days and post in the kitchen to help keep me on track. Tentatively, I'm planning on having Mondays as at home days. Working on cleaning and laundry need to have a set time again, or they seem to get lost in the shuffle of life.

Tuesdays will be days out. By this, I'm planning on spending our mornings doing new and favorite things with the boys. Maybe a trip to the zoo, or to a garden. We may meet up with friends somewhere, or just go exploring by ourselves. Tuesday afternoon during nap will become the time to plan the meals for the next week, clean the fridge and write the grocery list.

Our grocery store offers all the ending sales as well as the new weeks' sales on Wednesday, so it makes sense to shop that day. Since we don't grocery shop every week this also leaves a more flexible day to do something else, or have a friend come over. Wednesday afternoons will be dedicated to prepping all the groceries as needed like washing and slicing produce, breaking up bulk meats into meals.

Thursdays will be spent at home as we've got a little one planning to come over that morning each week. This will be the day to bake the breads as well as we'll be home for a long stretch. It was too much to try to do with the Monday chores. I'd either forget a load of laundry or a loaf rising! Since I make all our bread products including sandwich bread, pitas, tortillas, crackers, etc., it makes sense to do it all at once. Most of the ingredients are the same so it saves time and effort in the end. This will be done throughout the day as needed. I usually make and freeze big batches of each thing so I don't have to make everything each week.

I've marked Thursday afternoons to do desk duties as well. Whether it's writing a card, or dealing with insurance paperwork, I need a time set apart to work on these things. By Thursday there are usually one or two loads of laundry that need attention as well, so I'll squeeze those in as well since we'll be home. I was trying to do those on Friday, but it was getting all messed up and forgotten if we left the house.

Fridays are fun days. We'll play these by ear. I'm looking forward to it! Friday afternoons are set aside to touch up the house so it's fresh and clean for the weekend to enjoy.

This leaves my weekends open to enjoy. We'll see how it all goes!

Somewhere in the midst of the set things I'm trying to figure out things like making soaps and lotions and balms. I also want to make sure I'm keeping up with my sewing and crafting. These renew me and help keep me--me. Also gardening takes up more time this time of year as well.

I'm also revamping my daily routines. That's a whole other post I think!

I've been working on new routines for the boys, too. Pumpkin is three and a half now and wanting to learn everything. I found a really neat site that I'm looking forward to exploring more and using some of the ideas immediately! She's got some great ideas for teaching the little guys that look like they'd be perfect for Pumpkin and Dumpling.
This site is where I found the directions for an amazing new skin product. I had read the list of ingredients on the back of a Burt's Bees balm and noticed I had most of the ingredients on hand. I was looking for something to help with all the little bumps and scratches we get this time of year. Brambleberries' directions brought it all together.

The boys and I were out in Boulder to see the tulips a few weeks ago. As I was looking for a place to park we passed Rebecca's Apothecary. We went in immediately! I'd been wanting to find comfrey and calendula for a couple of recipes I wanted to try, including the balm. I found that and more! It was so nice to find a source for herbs and such without it being a really freaky place I don't want to walk in much less support. Ahem. Know what I mean?

I'm looking forward to going back soon and trying some new things. They even carried press-and-seal tea bags and sachets. I'd been looking for some for quite awhile. Perfect! They do nature hikes and show you the wild plants and herbs growing around here that you can use for all sorts of things. I'd like to go on one this summer.

When the boys napped, I filled a jar with the calendula, comfrey and a few handfuls of lavender filling the jar with olive oil. I let it steep in the sun for two weeks and then strained it. I added rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils to the olive oil then as well. Just a few drops of each, but I think I'll add more next time. Blending the oil with beeswax took hardly anytime and I filled several jars with my new concoction.

I LOVE it! I'll be making more and more. Maybe I'll even get my own etsy shoppe. :) This stuff is soooo wonderful. Seriously, the boys love it, too. It smells so clean and fresh and isn't at all sticky like others balms with beeswax that I've tried. I've even got a little jar in my purse. It is so soothing.

Let's see...Since I'm rambling on, I'll mention a few other things I've been putting together. I've been blending our laundry detergent for awhile now and just storing it in a bucket. It works great, but I've noticed it drying out at times and not staying quite as well gelled. Yesterday as I was doing laundry I ran out of detergent, so I just blended the dry ingredients and dumped some in the wash. I figured I'd make it gel later, but wanted to keep the laundry going. Directions are here.

Anyway, I was about to clean up and wash the grater when I realized I should just grate all the bars of soap I had left. This is my least favorite part and I'd rather just have it over with for a few months. That being done, I decided I'd like to get rid of the rest of the box of borax as well. So, I just added the correct ratios of soap, borax and washing soda. I dumped it all in a glass jar and stuck a ladle in for a scoop. (About two tablespoons powder is the same as the 1/2 cup gel.) I wasn't sure how well a powdered detergent would do as the ones I used to buy didn't seem to dissolve well in our water. It worked great!

I'll probably mix some with water to keep on hand since that's what I've been using for stain remover as well. Here's an amazing post listing all sorts of ideas for natural stain removers as well. I'm sure I'll be trying them soon, too! I've also begun to add the vinegar in the rinse cycle again. I think it helps. I'd just stopped because I kept forgetting to add it at the right time! Setting a timer really helps me a lot, so it was beeping all day yesterday.

Well, I just heard Dumpling wake up, so I need to sign off. I hope you're having a wonderful day wherever you are. It's been raining here steady since midnight. I think we've had more rain since March than we usually get all year. Thanks for stopping by!


mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Hi Kimberly.

I love your daily schedule. I'm much less structured in the summer, but during the school year, I really love having Mondays and Fridays at home to clean and get things in order before & after the weekends! I definitely could use a set time to do desk duty--paperwork, correspondence, etc. Great idea!

LOVE Sunflower market! And the double ad day is wonderful! I was in the Springs today so ran by there to get more cantaloupe, strawberries, chicken, and tortilla chips! ;)

AND, I'm probably the last person in blogland to try homemade detergent, but I bought Borax last weekend. Couldn't find the washing powder or soap at Walmart or Target (need to try King Soopers!) but I LOVE the powder idea. I wasn't excited about having a bucket sitting in my laundry room forEVER while trying to use it up. Question for you: When it gels, would it be too thick to pour into/out of an existing detergent container?

Kimberly said...

Mer~I'm posting my email reply here as well:
My mom shops at King Soopers. That's been the only place I've found washing soda. She buys a few boxes every couple of months for me. The gel was too thick to go through my old detergent bottle. That's why I used the ugly bucket. :) I didn't know if adding more water would dilute it too much so I didn't bother. I also just use bars of Ivory.

Carina said...

Iknow I don't comment often, but I check in daily!

I've been making the powdered detergent for over a year now and love the ease of it! I grate my soap bars in my food processor and then add in the washing soda, borax and essential oil and pulse a few times just to mix it all together. Using the food processor makes it even easier! :)

DJ said...

I love reading your blog, I've only been enjoying it for a few weeks, but will keep coming back.
Regarding the vinegar in the wash:
You can find/buy a Downy Softener
ball and it will automatically dispense the vinegar for you. I used one for years before I got a washer with a built in dispenser, wish I still had my downy ball, I'd send it to you. But, they are reasonable, if you can't find then locally, you could just take the
'800' number from a bottle in the store and call them to find out how to get one.
I'm a soap, lotion and balm maker, too.
Hugs, DJ in SW MI

hadashi said...



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